Universal basic income—the idea that people should be paid simply for being alive—is gaining attention in many different sectors. It is being talked about by right-wing libertarians and far-left socialists, by high-tech venture capitalists and inside-the-Beltway think tanks. But is it really feasible in the United States? If so, how, and when?
This discussion occurred at Civic Hall in New York City on May 26, 2015. The panel includes:
Peter Barnes is a co-founder of Working Assets/CREDO, a social entrepreneur, and the author of several books. His With Liberty and Dividends for All explains how a form of universal basic income, modeled on the Alaska Permanent Fund, could provide living wage while helping to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Natalie Foster is a fellow at Institute for the Future and co-founder of Peers.org. Before that she was CEO of Rebuild the Dream and led the digital work of Organizing for America, the Sierra Club, and MoveOn.org.
Michael Lewis is a professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in New York City, where he has studied the possible impacts of universal basic income schemes on the economy and the environment. He is a member of the coordinating committee of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network.
Nathan Schneider has reported on universal basic income proposals in tech culture for Vice magazine and is a longtime chronicler of social movements. His most recent book is Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse.